FEDERAL member for the Riverina Michael McCormack has been appointed Minister for Small Business.
The position is the first time a member for the Riverina has held a ministerial position in 33 years, when Liberal MP Wal Fife was Minister for Aviation.
Mr McCormack has snagged one of only two coveted National ministry positions up for grabs in the narrowly re-elected Coalition government.
He joins neighbouring member for Farrer Sussan Ley, who has retained her health portfolio despite speculation she would be axed from the ministry position after Labor’s election campaigning on Medicare.
The small business ministry was previously held by Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer, and has now been moved out of the cabinet into an outer ministry position.
Mr McCormack said he was “not at all” disappointed that the ministry role was no longer in cabinet.
“Before it was tied in with other portfolios,” he said. “But once again it has a minister of its own, which has got to be a bonus.”
The new Minister for Small Business said the role would require travelling around Australia and finding ways to cut red tape and start up new business ideas.
Inspiration could be found close to home, with the success of Simone Eyles’s 365 cups phone app a shining example, Mr McCormack said.
But he was unconcerned that the heightened responsibility would take him out of the electorate too much.
“National Party people have a work ethic which is always putting our electorates first, and I will continue to do that,” Mr McCormack said.
While he applauded the work of his predecessors, he was proud to be the first minister in decades for the region.
“For years people have been saying the Riverina needs a minister,” Mr McCormack said.
Eight years experience running MSS Media made him well-versed for the challenging role, he said. “I understand the pitfalls, but also the great rewards that come with being your own boss,” Mr McCormack said.